Ashley Madison, the website for people seeking to have extra-marital affairs that uses the slogan, “Life is Short. Have an affair” has been hacked by a group calling itself Impact Team. Impact Team has already released a small amount of the information stolen and has threatened to publicly release all of the data it has stolen from Ashley Madison, which claims to have 37 million members. According to Impact Team, the information it has includes names, addresses, sexual interests and credit card details of Ashley Madison’s members as well as employee documents and emails. In an interesting twist, Impact Team is not demanding ransom from Ashley Madison in return for not releasing the rest of the stolen information, but rather is demanding that Avid Life Media, the company that owns Ashley Madison permanently take Ashley Madison and another similar website it owns named Established Men offline. Impact Team also took issue with a $19 charge that Ashley Madison charged its customers who wished to have their information deleted. According to Impact Team, even after paying the charge, their information was not fully deleted. In response, Ashley Madison says that they do delete the information and that they will now waive the fee. Here is a link to Ashley Madison’s press release about the data breach and their new policy about deleting information. http://media.ashleymadison.com/statement-from-avid-life-media-inc-july-20-1225pm/
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this matter as millions of Ashley Madison customers wait in fear that their affairs will be exposed is that your personal information is only as safe as the places that have your personal information with the worst security. It also is obvious that the more places that have your personal information, the more at risk you are. Therefore you should limit the places that have your personal information as much as possible. In addition, you should not leave your credit card on record with a company for convenience sake even if it is one with which you do much business. Unless you agree to have your credit card information saved, companies with which you use your credit card are not allowed to store that information. People may also consider using aliases rather than their real names when doing business online.